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Academic Paper


Title: Linear History of Indic Language: Some problems of historiography
Paper URL: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2080657
Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://isid.academia.edu/DebaprasadBandyopadhyay
Institution: Indian Statistical Institute
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Genetic Classification; Historical Linguistics; Language Acquisition
Abstract: The author of this paper questioned the linear chronological overdetermined history of Indic language and its subsequent genealogical classification by deploying following methods :(a) David Hume’s Regulatory Theory; (b) pratyavijna (roughly ‘retrospection’) darsana ;(c) Althusser’s concept of historicism; (d) the Buddhist concept of jataka ( Buddha himself did not believe in rebirth. Proofs are cited in the paper), the semantics of which was like this: non-reified existence of human being (jataka) with continuous flux (ksnikatavada). (d) primary repression caused by the other-mirrors (language-police/-judge/-managers) in semiotic order (Julia Kristeva). The author compared, with the help of the concept of Foucauldian genealogy, this linear history with ‘fast forward-rewind’ phenomenon in magnetic tapes.
There were four case studies offered by the author to nullify institutionalized linear chronological history of Indic languages as proposed by Suniti Kumar Chatterji and Sukumar Sen: (a) the dating of the Rgveda: it is not the oldest Veda, but constructed in the 6th C. B.C. by marginalizing Samasongs by means of grammaticalization/codification of Rg-recitations (cf. SSRN Paper ID: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2021917, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2018055) ; (b) the Jataka- narratives were composed almost 500 to 600 years after the death of Buddha, though scholars had put it within the lifetime of Buddha; (c) In case of constructing the linguistic history of imagined Bangla, the author put a simple question: if anyone ask Luipada (one of the Carya- poets) or Candidasa (composer of Srikrsnakirtana) or the king Laksmanasena: are you a Bengali? Obviously they did not understand the connotation of Bangla/Bengali that was a 19th C. product/construct or historical apriori; (d) looking at the ontogeny of language acquisition, when a child is forming ”go-goed “ (Bangla examples are cited) type analogical formation, other-mirrors started to “rectify” it. The problematic question is: which one is earlier and which one is after?
According to author this institutionalized linear history of language, that, peculiarly enough, overlaps with history of literature, subscribes the nation statist genealogical fantasy and deals only with substantive arbitrary epi-phenomenal E-linguistic features—a leisure class’s conspicuous consumption. The problem of Comparative Philology or Historical linguistics is that this enterprise largely depends on the entailment theory of causality and frequent (?)One-after-another occurrences of arbitrary signifiers lead them to a dogmatic bad faith! If Chomskian UG is to be believed, how do we classify languages genealogically? And that is an inner contradiction of the linguistics. (cf. SSRN Paper ID: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2015064, http://ssrn.com/abstract=2029974). This type of History is not only ahistorical, but anti-historical non-epistemology.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: 2009. “Sorolrekhay Indic bhaSa itiHaS: SomoSSar itiHaS”.[Linear History of Indic Language: Some Problems of Historiography] Ed. Chakroborty, Barun. “Tomar sristrir pOth.” (Acarya Sukumar Sen Commemoration Volume). Kolkata: Aparna Book Distributors. (pp. 448-71) ISBN 81-86036-79-2
URL: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2080657


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